Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896) wrote part of his work with his brother Jules (1830-1870) and was the founder of the Institut Goncourt, which awards literary prizes in France bearing his name, among the winners are Marcel Proust and André Malraux or Simone de Beauvoir. Edmond de Goncourt, a naturalist writer, also believes that “statistics is the first inexact science,” something anyone who reviews the interpretation of the latest published unemployment data would confirm. There are 2.914 million registered unemployed – 27,027 down from the previous month – the lowest October figure since 2008, while Social Security affiliation comes to 20.28 million. For the government, this is a success, while the opposition sees it much darker and the experts disagree, although there are many who see the glass as half-empty, and yes, the leader of the UGT, Pepe Alvarez, who is already going to launch several general strikes against another government, “There is no labor problem in Spain,” he says. The key is an “intermittent constant”, 1.9 million which are not considered idle when they are not working. This number is also not clear, because what is recorded are contracts, that is, a worker can have several “permanent discontinuous” jobs. Everything is rising in the air, when there is evidence of a slowdown and in Europe the winds of stagnation are blowing.
The European Central Bank (ECB) headed by Christine Lagarde, while the government celebrated the unemployment data, criticized the new banking tax, warning of its risks and that it is almost inevitable that the cost will be passed on to customers. The ECB’s opinion is non-binding The Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero, immediately responded that the government did not expect any changes. The head of the treasury, who insists that the tax will be paid by the banks and not the customers, may have forgotten what Santiago Peña Lagos, the professor and member of the expert panel — her choice — who prepared the tax report had done. He explained the reform commissioned by his department, now forgotten in a drawer. Peña Lagos writes: “No matter how well-intentioned, no government is able to ensure that the cost of taxes will not be transferred via prices to other economic agents: in particular, to customers of energy companies or banks.” Without comment, though, the government will assume bank taxation and employment statistics, no matter how imprecise this discipline is, Goncourt defended.
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